ASCC Fall 2016 Convocation and General Assembly Focus on Accreditation
August 24, 2016
By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer
To begin the fall 2016 semester at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC), two events took place last week to welcome the faculty and staff back for the beginning of the new 2016-2017 Academic Year. First, a Convocation was held on Monday, August 15 to focus on accreditation awareness and concerns, and at the end of the week a General Assembly held on Friday, August 19th included special guest speaker Lt. Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga as well as the Board of Higher Education (BHE), whose chairman Reverend Dr. Leanavaotaua S. Seva’aetasi also addressed the College’s administration, faculty and staff.
President Dr. Seth Galea’i, along with ASCC Deans and Directors, new and continuing faculty, and members of the administrative staff gathered for Monday’s Convocation, presided over by Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Services, Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi Pato. Dr. Pato began her opening remarks by asking those present to think of the number 212. “Hot water turns to steam at 212 degrees,” she explained. “For many of us, our motivation hovers around 210 or 211 degrees, but if we give it just that extra degree of effort, then motivation turns into action and causes change. I urge you to think about that extra degree you can bring to anything you do, so that your motivation yields the results you seek.”
Dr. Pato then focused on the College’s current accreditation status, which the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) designated in February of this year as “Warning,” a substantial modification from the far more severe “Show Cause” status WASC-ACCJC issued in 2015. Since then, ASCC has successfully addressed 24 of the 27 compliance standards cited in the original sanction, but is still working to address the three remaining standards prior to a scheduled site visit by WASC this coming October. To emphasize the link between accreditation standards and everyday practices at ASCC, Dr. Pato discussed the stated goals of the ASCC Mission and how all work done at the College should demonstrate a clear reflection of these goals. Following Dr. Pato’s talk, Deans, Directors and Officers representing the many divisions and departments within the College each gave a brief presentation on their purpose and made announcements of any changes in policies or procedures this semester.
Following staff professional development workshops and student advising and registration during the midweek, the College’s personnel gathered again on Friday for a General Assembly, this time joined by the BHE and special guest Lt. Governor Lemanu, and with Vice President of Administration and Finance Dr. Mikaele Etuale presiding. During his special remarks, the Lt. Governor recalled his own days as an ASCC student, and reminded the faculty of the importance of their work in molding the Territory’s future leaders and professionals. He also shared his observation of how in instances of students from American Samoa entering college off-island directly from high school, they succeed about half the time, whereas local students who attend ASCC first before continuing off-island succeed almost all the time. Lemanu commended the ASCC family for their service to the community and wished those present a successful semester.
On behalf of the BHE, Chairman Reverend Dr. Leanavaotaua also offered similar words of encouragement, thanking all of the College’s personnel for both their day-to-day services as well as their ongoing contributions to the effort to address last year’s WASC-ACCJC sanction and the three that remain. Following Dr. Leanavaotaua’s remarks, Dr. Pato picked up the theme of ongoing contributions to acknowledge three faculty members who have demonstrated exemplary service by not only maintaining a full-time teaching load but also by giving of their time in not just one but several of the committees tasked with addressing the WASC-ACCJC sanction. Called to center stage to receive special certificates of recognition as well as gift baskets were Mr. Fred Suisala of the Trades & Technology Division, Ms. Shirley Dela Rosa of the Teacher Education Department, and Mr. Poe Mageo of the Fine Arts Department.
With addressing the WASC sanctions amounting to an effort that involved practically every single member of the ASCC administration, faculty and staff, it was announced at the General Assembly that all the College’s employees, all the way from basic service providers to top-level management, would receive a Certificate of Appreciation for their contribution to the College’s accreditation dialogue and process. These certificates, signed by the College’s “leadership triangle” of Dr. Galea’i, Dr. Pato and Dr. Etuale, were subsequently distributed within the respective divisions and departments of ASCC.
General information on ASCC can always be accessed on the College’s website: www.amsamoa.edu.